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Rant: The ‘Hidden’ Goodness of Vista Media Center

with one comment

I’m still seeing a bunch of posts around the forums with people saying ‘im not going to upgrade to Vista because .<insert fud here>…’ 
I think a lot of people just don’t really get what Vista is all about – and its very much a case of what you ‘dont see’ that makes it such a powerful platform. To (mis)quote Jim Allchin’s interview on Channel9 – ‘Users wont realize for 3-4 years just how powerful the new underlying security features are in Vista – because they wont see it’..
One of the most important ‘hidden’ features for me of Vista is the way it empowers developers to be able to create incredible software – by providing an awesomely powerful platform, API’s and developer tools. This is an area which I believe Microsoft have really dominated over the past 10+ years – and I personally believe one of the reasons they have more or less wiped out the competition.
I am calling this a ‘hidden’ feature – because it’s not something that is easily understood by end users – who tend to judge a product by what applications comes out of the box. However as developers start to tap into whats there – then this is where the platform really really shine. (for example – those who judged the XBox360 purely by it’s launch titles – are now eating their words 12 months later since ‘Gears of War’ was released).
For Vista Media Center users – its no different. I’m sure you could make a long list of ‘what Vista Media Center’ doesn’t do out of the box – but part of the real power there is the new development platform (namely MCPL) – which is what Microsoft themselves used to create the Media Center UX. Gone are the days of being forced to create flakey HTML addins or UI’s which had to run outside the MCE environment.
This basically means in the future – independant developers will have the capability to enhance (or completely rewrite) many of the basic features you now see – whilst still retaining the ‘full fidelity’ feel of the original product. (That being said – the Media Center team have done a fine job on the new UX – which caters for beginners through to power users – a finely tuned balance that is always hard to achieve).
This makes possibilities almost endless for consumers – and I can’t wait to see what other addins/software developers start to release in the future for Vista Media Center.
The Media Center team ought to be thoroughly congratulated for this effort – so next time you leave a ‘Vista MC didn’t support feature XYZ’ – stop for a moment to think about all the features you did get. If you’re still not sure what they were – download some of the addins which are starting to become available for Vista – and you’ll start to understand what its all about.
There’s also a few guys from the Media Center platform team who have really stepped above and beyond the call of duty (on top of the internal/external pressures and deadlines they must have already on their plate). I lost count of how many times I had emails answered by the team after hours, on weekends, or the many great tips+info developers received via places like Aarons Stebners Blog, Media Center Sandbox to name a couple.
I only know of some of the ‘public’ facing stars ( Aaron Stebner, Charlie Owen, Joseff Goldberg, David Fleischman, ex Matt Goyer) – but I’m sure for every one of these guys there was also a bunch of others working away to get all those other ‘hidden’ features happening.
I can’t thank these guys enough – and hope you as end users and developers will soon appreciate all the effort.
So forget the ‘fud’ and just try Vista/Media Center for yourselves… you’re gonna love it!

Written by mobilewares

November 17, 2006 at 3:52 am

Posted in Vista MediaCenter

One Response

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  1. With you 100% on this, we have only seen start of the great applications coming, apps like yours and v2 of mControl show where its going. Well said!


    November 17, 2006 at 9:36 am

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